MANAGER Brendan Kelly says he will target victory in Bank Holiday Monday’s (3pm) derby with Stourbridge – despite his Bromsgrove side going into the fixture as underdogs.
Sporting are set for a double-header this weekend, first hosting Leicester Road of Midland Football League Division One in the FA Cup Preliminary Round on Saturday (3pm) before the trip to the War Memorial Ground.
Kelly says a second-string team is not expected, and will target progression to the first qualifying round by treating the step six side with respect.
“I don’t envisage wholesale changes, the club needs the prize money – so we’re not in a position to take the game lightly,” he said.
“We need to stop the slow starts that we’ve had so far this season, so we’ll be putting an end to that on Saturday.
“We’re the favourites, but we can’t approach it any other way than to go with a strong team and win the game.”
Stourbridge are another side that the Bromsgrove manager will treat with high regard, but one that he believes can be beaten in the context of a derby game.
“We’re the underdogs, Ian has put a very strong squad together, they’re the favourites with the resources and quality at hand,” said Kelly.
“But form and everything else gets put to one side in a derby, so we’ll approach it the same way as we always do and go for the win.”
The Rouslers go into the Bank Holiday weekend on a high, having escaped a defeat at Coalville Town late on last weekend.
Kyle Perry’s brace, after goals in the 90th and 91st minute, snatched a dramatic late point for Sporting, who were 2-0 down and kept out a penalty before the late comeback.
A draw extends their unbeaten start to life at step three to three games, but Kelly admits he feels aggrieved to have not secured all three points.
“We always keep going until the end, it’s in our character to always work on until the very end,” said the Rouslers boss.
“I’m disappointed we didn’t give ourselves the chance to get a win to be honest, you can see it as a point gained from 2-0 down, but we could have had more.
“We handed them a goal four minutes in, they started better and were on top – we can’t keep up with these slow starts.”
Despite feeling the game was a missed opportunity for his side, he felt Breeden’s penalty save at a goal down was a turning point for his side – albeit conceding again later in the game.
“He was brilliant, he’s really enjoying it at the club and has settled in really well,” said Kelly.
“That penalty save was the catalyst for us to rescue the game, it was a naïve challenge by Kyle Lincoln but there was only one team going for it after the save – even though we ended up conceding the second.”
The late drama that followed was sparked by Josh Quaynor’s corner into Perry, who gratefully flicked his header into the top right corner to give Sporting some late hope.
Then, just a minute later, the most unexpected of comebacks was complete.
Bromsgrove went on the attack once more, breaking the ball to Richard Gregory who drove low towards goal, with the ball flicked into the net by Perry with the deftest of touches to leave the goalkeeper without a prayer.
Kelly admits it is not the first time he has been involved in late drama, having experienced a number of similar situations during his playing career.
“At Sutton Coldfield, there were a couple of late winners,” he said.
“But at Halesowen, we scored a late goal to clinch the title and win the league by a couple of points [in 2013/14].
“The main thing for me looking at the weekend was that we didn’t give up, I made some brazen attacking changes late on and thankfully Perry’s substitution paid off with the late goals.”